City opens more pools today

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Pools across the city of Tucson opened for the summer swim season Thursday.

That means there are 18 public city pools now open for business.
That includes eight pools that used to be closed, but are now open thanks to the "Bring Back the Splash" program.

As the days heat up in Tucson, summer swim season comes just in time.

"It's just hot and it's just something for them to do over the summer instead of just staying home," says Perla Raygoza who is showing her two-year-old daughter Camila how to paddle in the water at Quincie Douglas Pool.

Budget cuts had permanently closed city pools that were open only in summer, and had cut hours at other city pools.

However, thanks to generous Tucsonans, six of the once-closed pools reopened last summer.

An additional two, Escalante and Freedom Park Pools, reopened Thursday.

It's not only great new for children and their families.

"We are able to open these pools because of the support of the community. And it not only gets the pools open for the kids, but what it also does is it provides jobs. I mean I have over 200 young men and women who are working as lifeguards and Water Safety Instructors this summer. And we haven't had a staff of over 200 since 2008," says Tucson Parks and Recreation Aquatics Program Manager Billy Sassi.

More pools means more opportunities for swimming lessons to help keep children safe.

"This helps get more kids swimming lessons. This helps as far as those drowning statistics going down and hopefully becoming non-existent one day," Sassi says.

Sassi is training Water Safety Instructors who will work all around the area.

"We'll be about to teach a wide range of ages, from little children--infants actually--all the way up to senior citizens," says Madeline Hudson who is a Water Safety Instructor trainee and will work for Oro Valley.

"You can spend the whole day at the facility. You can pack a lunch in a picnic basket and it gives you the opportunity to create a wonderful memory for the whole family," says Nick McNutt who also is training to be a Water Safety Instructor in Oro Valley.

There are plenty of reasons to head for the pool.

"Because it was really hot and we had nothing to do," says Jayden Betters at Quincie Douglas.

His brother, Jack, is all smiles.

"It was fun. It's fun going down the slide," he says.

"Because we had nothing to do and we just wanted to come out here so we could spend time together," adds Jayden's and Jack's cousin Isaiah Frank who might have the best reason of all.

List of "Bring Back the Splash" Pools, Summer 2013:

Escalante - 6900 E Nicaragua Dr.

Freedom - 5000 E 29th St

Himmel - 1000 N Tucson Blvd

Jacobs - 3300 N. Fairview Ave.

Mansfield - 2000 N. 6th Ave.

Menlo - 1100 W. Fresno

Palo Verde - 300 S. Mann Ave.

Purple Heart - 10050 E. Rita Rd.

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